The Kolam, an ephemeral art

Indian women in Tamil Nadu drawing a kolam on the floor (popular and traditional art in Tamil Nadu)

The tradition

 

The drawings you see at the entrance of the houses represent an ancient tradition in Tamil Nadu.
It is said that thanks to kolams, houses became places where beings co-existed in harmony. The rice powder used to draw was eaten by insects, small birds and other animals.

Nowadays, more than just aesthetics, kolams have a very specific function: to invite the Goddess Laxmi to bring luck and prosperity into the house. It is also a sign of welcome for visitors.

Transmission of knowledge


At dawn, the mother, often accompanied by her daughters to whom she transmits her art, sprinkles water on the floor in front of her door. Then she begins to place a few points and connect them by letting rice powder pass between her thumb and forefinger, drawing lines. She works freehand, her gesture is sure and fast, the result of a long experience and education received from her mother, her grandmother, and so on throughout the generations of women.


The patterns


The usual patterns are geometric or floral, usually white, but on the occasion of religious festivals and family events, they are embellished with sparkling powders in bright colours, sometimes fresh flowers, and enriched with figurative representations related to the nature of the event.
Each family has its own style, its personal inspiration. Each day, the pattern is different.
As the day is wearing on, it will degrade and disappear under the feet of passers-by, the wheels of vehicles, or windswept.
An ephemeral art that makes it even more attractive.
Tomorrow, a new movement, a new pattern, a new kolam.

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Classes in SITA


We hold Kolam class of 1h30 on appointment (minimum 2 persons, you can book for one and we will contact you when we will have enough participants). Please get in touch with us for more information.

 

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